Whenever we have a client charged with a felony offense in Okaloosa County, we know it is a very serious matter. Dealing in Stolen Property cases are prosecuted aggressively by the State Attorney’s Office, so it is important that you have legal counsel on your side who will fight back just as hard.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I have been defending clients accused of Dealing In Stolen Property in Okaloosa County since 2001. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. We can help you through this, but the first step is up to you. Call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 and schedule a free consultation. Our Okaloosa County dealing in stolen property defense lawyers would be glad to explain your options and give you some peace of mind.
Dealing In Stolen Property under Florida Law
Florida Statute 812.019 defines Dealing In Stolen Property as someone who traffics in stolen property who knew or should have known that the property was stolen. Most Dealing in Stolen Property cases come from a theft, followed by a sale to a private person or pawn shop.
What is the possible penalty for Dealing In Stolen Property?
Before discussing possible penalties, it is important to understand that you will only face a penalty if you are convicted by a judge or jury. That means that right now, before you have been convicted, there is still a chance to affect the outcome. There is still the opportunity to force a better result in the long run.
If you are convicted, Dealing in Stolen Property is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. Because this charge is a second degree felony, it also requires a mandatory designation as a convicted felon unless the Judge makes an exception and explains his reasoning on the record.
If there was evidence that the criminal act was connected to a criminal plan or scheme, the prosecutor has the option to file an enhancement against you that elevates the charge to a first degree felony. If that happens, the maximum sentence is 30 years in prison.
What defenses are there to Dealing in Stolen Property?
Referring back to the statute’s definition of Dealing in Stolen Property, the State will be required to prove that you knew or should have known that the property was stolen.
In many cases, this is a valid defense. If you are accused of pawning something that you didn’t know was stolen, you can raise that as a defense. An example of this would be a situation where a friend gives you a video game system and asks you to pawn it for cash. If you didn’t know that your friend had stolen that video game system, you have a defense to the charge.
However, remember that the statute says “knew or should have known.” This means that if the evidence suggests that you did know the item was stolen, or the circumstances made it obvious that the item was stolen, the State will be able to successfully argue that you should have known the property was stolen. Then, the burden of proof shifts to you to prove that you didn’t know.
When we meet to talk about your case, we will go over any other defenses that might apply to the specific circumstances of your case.
Do I need an attorney for a Dealing in Stolen Property charge?
Absolutely yes. You are facing a possible prison sentence. Whether you hire us, or someone else, a theft defense attorney can help you fight the charge, mitigate the potential penalty, and give you the best possible chance of avoiding jail time and a permanent felony conviction on your record.
If you have been charged with Dealing In Stolen Property in Fort Walton Beach, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential case review.